A Southern Baptist leader is encouraging Christians to pray for the YouTube star known as “Mr. Beast” in light of his close friend and partner Chris Tyson self-identifying as transgender.
The 24-year-old Mr. Beast, born Jimmy Donaldson, is one of the most popular YouTube stars among children and teens with 146 million subscribers and 700-plus videos that have totaled 24 billion views.
Tyson, who is often seen in Donaldson’s videos, announced recently he was undergoing hormone replacement therapy and transitioning to a female identity. Tyson also said he was using “all” pronouns for now. Tyson has a wife and young son.
In recent days, Tyson’s social media accounts have been filled with statements and stories supporting transgenderism.
Daniel Darling, director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, says parents are now wondering if the mostly clean Mr. Beast channel will now begin promoting transgender beliefs. Darling is the author of several books, including the forthcoming book Agents of Grace.
“This is a troublesome development for fans of the young YouTube star,” Darling wrote in a World Opinions column. “Donaldson’s audience has been carefully cultivated over the years, attracting young viewers with fun but clean content that parents can trust, like other creators such as Dude Perfect. But with a platform comes responsibility, and now concerned parents will be understandably wary of a channel they thought they could trust. Will MrBeast become one more entertainment outlet intent on indoctrinating young children with transgender propaganda?”
Donaldson has voiced support on social media for Tyson. So far, though, the videos on his YouTube channel have not referenced the controversy.
Donaldson grew up Christian but apparently has abandoned his faith, Darling noted. Donaldson told Rolling Stone, “I believe there is a God, but there are so many different religions and so many people who believe passionately about these things. It’s hard to know which [religion] is right.”
“Without a relationship with God through Christ and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, it is no wonder Donaldson is yielding to the spirit of the age. The commanding heights of culture will help shape your ethic if you are not anchored to the truth,” Darling wrote. “... We should pray that he resists the temptation – and surefire media adulation – to propagandize America’s young children. We should pray for the young family left behind by Tyson’s transition. And we should pray that prodigals – captured by the false promises of the sexual revolution – will come home.”
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Dave Kotinsky / Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.